A Visual Tour of Some of the Most Impressive Design Studios in San Diego

Ever wonder which top-of-the-line designers make San Diego their home? Want to know what they’ve been making?

Whether you’re a curious tourist or a long time native, it’s exciting keeping tabs on the nation’s hottest trendsetters . With this in mind, AIGA is profiling five of downtown San Diego’s biggest design agencies, inspired by this month’s super successful Adobe MAX studio walking tour, which was sponsored by Adobe. Check them out below, then go interact with San Diego’s design community yourself!

Basic

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Address: 251 10th Ave., San Diego, CA 92101

Website: http://www.basicagency.com

Clients: Beats by Dre, Ubisoft, The History Channel, New Balance, American Express, Blue Shield of California, Nike, and many more.

“We live at the intersection of culture + commerce” reads Basic’s webpage. They also happen to live at the intersection between Petco Park and a Metro stop, making Basic one of the most centrally located agencies within San Diego’s lively downtown scene.

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Basic is a “Brand Strategy and Digital Design” agency. Visit and you’ll quickly notice how Basic thrives in modern chic: long, wooden tables peppered with computers, glassed-off meeting rooms, an open bar and a basketball hoop right in the center of it all. Just like the brands under its watch, Basic exudes the most cutting edge aesthetics from its inside out. And yes, this includes its operations; Basic employs a flat hierarchy, meaning employee structure goes left and right, not top to bottom.

Digital Telepathy

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Address: 770 11th Ave., San Diego, CA 92101

Website: http://www.dtelepathy.com

Clients: Adobe, TEDx, HP, Red Bull, Hard Rock Café, crazyegg, and much more.

“ELEVATE”, reads a double couch-length, electric sign just inside Digital Telepathy’s front entrance, lending a circus-like flair to a design agency filled with fun and freaky décor. Similarly offbeat are Digital Telepathy’s business models for its many services: subscription models, design packages and educational classes for customers “…that may not be a fit for our services, but want to learn our best practices.”

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“That idea you have? It’s pretty awesome”, begins the spoken manifesto that you can actually listen to on their website. Just like the child-like wonder gushing from their designers, the buzz they bring to San Diego is equally contagious.

Red Door Interactive

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Address: 350 Tenth Ave. #100, San Diego, CA 92101

Website: http://www.reddoor.biz

Clients: Rubios, Univsion, Astroglide, asics, Bosch, COX, San Diego County Credit Union, and much more.

Pictured here is the San Diego portion of this agency’s three main hubs. (Where are the other two? Encinitas, CA and Denver, CO.)

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“Meet me in the attic” is a common saying inside this sprawling, spacious design studio. The reason? Meeting rooms are cheekily named after rooms of a house, offering a playful tone to this data-driven collective of 90+ pros. Finally, Red Door Interactive’s creed: “100% jerk free”, which is maybe why Ad Age recently named Red Door Interactive as one of the top 50 places – full stop –  to work in America.

BLVR

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Address: 1205 J St., San Diego, CA 92101

Website: https://blvr.com/

Clients: NBC Sports, Vessel, the YMCA, UCSD, McMillin, AIGA, hip-hop group Arrested Development, and much more. blvr-01

Both organic yet calculated – that is the feeling visitors get from this cozy, outdoorsy (yet modern) studio space. From the oversized, metal wheels hanging at the entrance, to the cabin-like vibe of its upstairs meeting room, BLVR wants you to really feel the textures that they work with.

Strewn out on its website is BLVR’s creative process: “Discover, plan, craft and measure”. From these four steps their designers say people can really start to become a believer in an idea, because as they stress in their company creed: “Only if one is a believer in something can one act purposefully.” Plus BLVR makes it their mission to assist communities in with pro-bono efforts, including AIGA San Diego’s very own Y22 Conference design.

Mth Degree

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Address: 950 Sixth Ave. #212, San Diego, CA 92101

Website: http://themthdegree.com

Clients: Samsung, Disney, LG, Mattel, San Diego Chargers, San Diego Padres, New Balance, and much more.

Exemplified by its simple and direct branding, Mth Degree promise to infuse your brands with that similar sense of design pragmatism. Their pitch: “purpose, promise and profit”.

They’ve packed that succinct and sleek style into all sorts of national, major brands with their mix of marketing, branding, sales and creative offerings. The results speak for themselves: a brimming portfolio of cutting-edge work, all flowing out from the heart of downtown San Diego.

By Alan Lopez
Published November 28, 2016
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